“Series of Five”

Core Strength. Where does one even begin?

Core strength is, without a doubt, the most important tool you can acquire for any kind of physical activity. It allows you to control your movement in a way that both aids in the execution of the activity and prevents injury. If you can control your core, the choreography for the arms and legs will come easily, as well as weight shifts and maintaining your balance. Additionally, core strength gives you those amazing looking abs that everyone wants during bikini season.  What’s not to love?

The best exercise series I have found to help with my core strength has been the pilates “series of five.”  Aptly named, the “series of five” is a series of five exercises aimed at working your internal obliques, external oblique, and transverse abdominal muscles.  To learn more about the wonderful anatomical world of  abdominal muscles, please visit this link.

Once again, the incredible Cara Chapman has come to help me put together a series of videos to help you learn the “series of five.”  (Note: one of the best things about the “series of five” is that they can easily be done in your living room while watching t.v.!)  So without further ado, here are the five exercises, followed by a video of all five done together as they would be in a pilates class.  Enjoy!



Single Leg Stretch



Double Leg Stretch






Lower Lift


CRISS CROSS (I warn you – this one is brutal!)

Criss Cross



Complete “Series of Five”

Upper Body Strength

In my last entry, I linked you to Michelle Obama showcasing her very impressive upper body strength by executing 25 gorgeous push ups! In doing so, she earned my eternal respect.

You see, I’ve always had upper body strength problems. My strength lies in my core and my legs, while my arms are willowy and noodle-like. In fact, I’ve never successfully done a proper push up! This is maybe information I shouldn’t be admitting to blogosphere land, but I did. Judge me as you will.

Michelle Obama inspired me, however, and I sought to improve my own upper body strength. I turned to my friend and fellow pilates instructor Cara Chapman to help me on my quest.

The first exercise she suggested I conquer if the basic pilates plank. Here she will teach you how you can also master the plank!


She then talked me through my own set of upper body exercises – which I completed with difficulty and a completely lack of grace. If you would like to play along and try Cara’s upper body workout – here is our video!

Megan’s Great Attempt

Lastly – Cara decided to show off her supreme upper body strength with the side plank. If you are feeling extra brave, you too can join Cara in the side plank!

Side Plank

And that is our upper body workout post!  It will most likely be a while before I give our First Lady a run for her money in the realm of push ups – but the journey of a thousand mile begins with a single step!